Holly Holm knows her UFC 193 main-event tilt against Ronda Rousey has already begun.
In combat sports, the mental game reigns supreme, and Holm recognizes that defeating somebody of Rousey's caliber begins by cultivating an intense self-belief.
"If you can’t visualize it [the victory], you won’t attain it," Holm said at the UFC 193 open workout media scrum in Melbourne, Australia. "You can’t get it. If you don’t think it’s going to happen, it’s not going to happen. It is mind over matter. Yes, it’s all the hard work and all that as well, but you have to visualize it. If you’re walking in there thinking you’re not going to do it, well you’ve set that fate for yourself. You’re not going to do it.
"So I do, I visualize the victory, but I visualize myself going through a tough situation to get there. I visualize myself being in a really bad situation and coming out of it. There’s 25 minutes in there to not mentally break."
Like Holm (9-0), Rousey (12-0) brings an undefeated record to the Octagon Saturday evening, and this spotless mark comes as no surprise to the challenger.
"If you look at her success as well, how do you think she got there? She’s believed in herself," Holm said. "There’s a lot of things to that. You don’t want to be overconfident to where you don’t train hard, you know? I know that it’s a very hard task at hand, so I’ve been training my butt off, which has also given me more mental strength. The more I train, the more I feel like, ‘You know what? It’s so much hard work, it’s going to pay off.’"
If Holm's vision proves true, she'll pull off one of the largest upsets in UFC history. Joining her as a massive underdog on the UFC 193 card is the co-main event's challenger, Valerie Letourneau. The Canadian strawweight will face 115-pound champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk, a fighter who, like Rousey, is viewed as the face of her division for foreseeable future.
But don't tell Holm that. She doesn't much care for odds, and she knows anything can happen when the cage door closes.
"I guess as far as polls and things like that, I don’t really like to pay attention to them, that stuff on paper," she said. "Like I said, you never know the future. Anything can happen, in Valerie and myself’s fight."
To accomplish this goal, Holm said she'll rely on a key skill earned through years as a professional boxer and kickboxer: adaptability.
"I’ve seen a lot of different styles of fighting, [I’ve] had to adapt to a lot of different things in a fight, and those are the biggest things that are going to help me," Holm said. "This is an MMA fight, not a boxing fight, so I’m not trying to rely only on my boxing experience and background, but I am going to take the things that it has prepared me for and use those for this fight and then just put that in with everything I’ve learned.
"She’s [Ronda has] come into her own. Obviously, she has knockouts on her record, so I don’t overlook her standup, and I feel like she’s very well rounded. So yes, I think that a lot of the experience from my standup fights will help me to do well, but like I said, I’m there to compete in every aspect of it and not just worry about the standup."